An umbrella organisation of Malayali associations in North America and Canada has decided to take the lead in building a domestic airport in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district.
The organisation called the Federation of Kerala Associations in North America (Fokana) is to build the terminal at Aranmulla in the central Kerala district.
"We had a detailed meeting with Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan on Tuesday and he has pledged full support to the proposed domestic airport," Fokana president Sasidharan Nair told the agency.
Set up in 1983, Fokana has emerged as the biggest socio-cultural organisation of Malayalis outside Kerala.
"We have already identified 250 acres of land at Aranmula for the airport. Achuthanandan expressed full support to build a domestic airport on the model of the Cochin International Airport, where the state government would have around 20 percent stake," said Nair.
In Pathanamthitta district, almost every household has at least one member either in the US or in the Middle East.
The only district that outnumbers it would be Malappuram in north Kerala.
"With the government sounding positive, we will place this proposal in our board meeting later this month. Our role would be to raise the capital required for building the airport and it would be done through floating of shares.
Once our board clears this, we can approach Keralites in the Middle East to participate in the company by buying shares," added Nair.
While Fokana would raise the capital, the government is expected to take care of the clearances required for the airport. Nair believes that Kerala's fifth airport would become a reality within two years.
Kerala currently has three international airports and the spadework is under way for a fourth one at Kannur.